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U.S. names Conn. official to lead Obamacare marketplace

U.S. names Conn. official to lead Obamacare marketplace

Photo: Associated Press

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Tuesday named the head of Connecticut’s state health exchange, Kevin Counihan, to oversee the federal marketplace that provides subsidized private health insurance to consumers in 36 states under Obamacare.

In a move that administration officials billed as an effort to bring new accountability to the federal operation, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell announced that Counihan would oversee federal marketplace operations as well as insurance regulation in the new post of chief executive officer.

His appointment comes less than a year after the botched rollout of the federal marketplace enrollment portal, HealthCare.gov, which crashed during its launch on Oct. 1, 2013, plunging President Barack Obama’s healthcare law into a political crisis for months.

By contrast, Counihan oversaw the successful launch of the Connecticut’s health insurance exchange, Access Health CT. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the state has seen its uninsured rate fall to 4.0 percent from 7.9 percent since 2012.

Fourteen states, including Connecticut, operate their own health insurance marketplaces under the Affordable Care Act. HHS said nine states have contacted Connecticut about using its technology.

“We are committed to instilling ongoing accountability for reaching milestones, measuring results and ensuring a successful open enrollment period,” Burwell said in a statement issued by HHS.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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